Your house is a mess. You can’t find your keys, your plants keep dying, and your toothpaste won’t come out of the tube. Starting your morning with these annoyances is enough to drive anyone insane — life’s pesky problems can add up until they feel like something huge.
But simple solutions to these little problems are hidden all around your house (or can be bought from any convenience store for a small price)! Use these 20 organizational and house-keeping tricks to stop all those little problems from building up into one big mess…
1. Organize keys or wires: If you have any Lego sets lying around, put them to use! With the right kind of bricks or even an astronaut, you can tidy up things like keys, cables, and even certain wallets or sunglasses! Besides, playing with Legos is always fun.
2. Organize pins: If you’re sick and tired of losing your bobby pins everywhere (or finding someone else’s bobby pins everywhere), place a magnetic strip in a beauty drawer to collect them all in one place.
3. Re-purpose tennis balls: They’re great for many things: playing with your dog, rehabilitating, helping walkers move with ease, and oh yeah, tennis. But now you can give them a little mouth to hang things up easily! The googly eyes are optional, but we highly recommend them.
4. Mark keys: Want to distinguish between your keys to remember which one works your gym locker and which one opens your ex’s house? Grab your favorite colors of nail polish and give each key its own color code.
5. Create a makeshift iron: You have a really important business meeting, date, or family gathering, and your iron is broken (or let’s face it, you simply don’t own one). Luckily, a pan filled with really hot water will do the trick. Please be careful though…
6. Open a stuck jar: You’ve already tried the hot water trick? Popeye is not around? Use some duct tape instead! It’s much easier to pull hard on a string of duct tape than it is to squeeze your hand over the entire lid while trying to twist your arm.
7. Keep plants alive: Going on vacation? Fill a giant pot with water and connect it to your plants with strings. This will provide a continuous flow of moisture so you don’t have to ask that neighbor you don’t really like to water anything for you.
8. Microwave more effectively: Next time you heat up a plate of leftover food in the microwave, make a hole in the middle for it to cook more evenly. This works great for pasta and rice dishes, but maybe less great for burritos or slices of pizza. You be the judge.
9. De-clutter showers: Are you one of those people who buys new shampoo and body washes before you’re even close to finishing the old ones? Do you live with 7 roommates or 4 children? Install a second shower rod and hang baskets from it to make more space for all your shower needs.
10. Fold shirts: Perhaps the worst part of doing laundry is folding everything and putting it all away. If you work in a clothing store, you already know the pain of folding. Luckily, the Japanese have found a way to fold shirts in only a second. See below.
11. Ward off pets: Are your pets eating your plants — or worse, peeing in the soil? An easy trick to keep them at bay and keep your plants safe is inserting toothpicks into the soil. With a spiky border like this, no way your furry friend will want to mess with your leafy friend anymore.
12. Munch microwave-free popcorn: No microwave? Worry not: you can make popcorn in an empty can over a fire. Just make sure the can is well rinsed unless you like beer- or soda-flavored popcorn of course.
13. Charge electronics: Rather than tripping over cables or hanging your phone straight from the chord, you can easily create this charging pouch for small electronics (if you can bear to stop using them for half an hour, that is).
14. Fill a bucket: You know what’s hard? Filling up a giant bucket of water in a shallow sink. You can actually use a duster pan to guide the water carefully into the bucket. Just please, please make sure that dustpan is clean and not, well, dusty.
15. Carry groceries: Carrying 16 double-packed grocery bags is the worst. It’s heavy, it’s bulky, and it hurts your hands. You can buy shoulder straps for this purpose, but you can also re-purpose the strap of an old bag.
16. Prop up a phone: Rather than buying an expensive phone stand, you can use certain types of sunglasses for this purpose instead. However, we recommend using the cheap ones you found on the sidewalk or bought at a gas station, not your $600 Ray-Bans.
17. Maximize toothpaste: Squeezing the toothpaste out of a near-empty tube gets tiring. Use a simple binder clip to keep everything near the opening, so you can brush your teeth in relative peace.
18. Celebrate on a budget: If you celebrate Christmas but don’t really have space for a tree, buying a garland and attaching some lights or other ornaments is a nice substitute. Remember, you can still be festive on a budget! And nobody can knock this over!
19. Peel boiled eggs: Add a little baking soda to the boiling water and the peel should slide right off! It also helps to place it in cold water right after taking it out from the pot. Bonus tip: pierce a tiny hole into the shell with a thumbtack before boiling to relieve pressure and keep the shell from splitting too early.
20. Avoid Popsicle messes: Popsicles are messy, especially on a hot day if you’re a slow licker. No worries! Just make a little hole in a cupcake liner and slide it over the stick to catch any melting drops. Happy summer!
21. Put your shoe organizer in your pantry: While you might not think “feet” and “food” are two things that belong in the same universe—let alone the same tiny room—just try hanging a (clean) over-the-door shoe organizer in your cupboard. Just look at how perfectly it holds produce!
22. Book knife block: Sure, you can spend a lot of money buying an expensive wooden or metallic knife block for your kitchen knives. But why do that when you can store them inside some cute vintage books like this woman did?
23. Key ring fly: If you have a great pair of jeans but you never wear them because the zipper can’t be trusted, try this hack! The key ring loops over the button at your waist to keep the zipper from sliding down every time you move.
24. DIY chip and dip: If you want to display your chips and various dips in a classy way, you don’t need to shell out the big bucks for a fancy combo bowl. Instead, just place a martini glass in your chip bowl and fill it with the dips of your choosing!
25. Baby wipes for stray hairs: If you have long hair, then chances are you’ve had to do battle with flyaways every now and then. Next time, just pat them down with a baby wipe and you’ll be as good as gold.
26. Vinegar for glassware: If your glasses come out of the dishwasher clean but not exactly sparkling, trying brightening them up with a swipe or two of vinegar. You’ll be amazed at how quickly it can banish water spots.
27. Sponges for ice packs: It’s smart to always have an ice pack handy in case of injury, but did you know that you can actually make them at home? All you need is a dish sponge: soak it in water and put it in a plastic bag. Then, just stick it in your freezer until you need it!
28. Use a potato for a broken light bulb: If you accidentally break a lightbulb while it’s still in the socket, you know how tricky (and dangerous) it can be to remove the base of the bulb. You don’t need to call an electrician; just press a potato into the broken bulb and twist it out!
29. Geometric pizza storage: When it comes to storing leftover pizza, it’s hard to do it without losing a ton of fridge space. Lining up your slices like this will save you precious space so you can fit more pizza in there!
30. Invest in Command hooks: These easy-to-install hooks are handy for more than just hanging up coats or paintings. You can use them to fashion a spot to hang the lids to your pots!
31. Sponge storage: It’s so easy to toss your sponge into the sink, but it’s an easy way to contaminate it. Try slicing the nozzle off an empty milk jug and slipping it over your sink faucet, then fit your sponge in the cup. Any leftover water will drip right out while keeping the sponge off the sink’s surface!
32. DIY funnel: There is no end to the many different uses that a funnel can have in your home, but you don’t need to run out and buy one. Simply cut a clean water bottle in half and voila!
33. Shrink wrap your remote: If you have little ones running around the house, then everything—from furniture to remote controls—are constantly sticky. Spare yourself the mess and wrap plastic around your remote to keep it clean while still preserving its function.
34. Clip-on air fresheners: If you want to make the air in your home smell extra fresh, you don’t need to do a lot of cleaning. Just clip a car air freshener right onto your central air vents!
35. Reuse your lids: Did you know that the lids to Starbucks drinks fit perfectly on top of red Solo cups? The next time you’re worried that being tipsy might cause you to spill, put a (Starbucks) lid on it. It’s a handy way to save plastic, too!
36. Clean toilet bowls with Coca Cola: If your toilet or sink is covered in stains and regular cleaners just aren’t doing the trick, then pop open a fresh can of Coke. It’s acidic enough to strip away the filth!
37. Pads and deodorant for sweaty feet: If your feet get particularly sweaty and stinky, there’s an easy solution for you. Simply fit a maxi pad inside of your shoe to absorb moisture and swipe the soles of your feet with deodorant.
38. Hack your flip-flops: You know how it’s nearly impossible to walk through sand wearing flip-flops? Rather than carrying them, just slide them around your ankles. It might look weird, but it’s genius—and you won’t need to hold your sandy shoes in your hands!
39. Key ring hack: Ever try to add a key to your key ring, but you can’t seem to do it without destroying your fingernails? Instead, use a staple remover to pry it open in a snap with no pain on your end.
40. Make an impromptu contacts case: If you wear contacts and you forget your case while you’re traveling, carrying a sealable bag could save the day. Simply fill it up with enough solution to drench your lens, pop them in, and worry no more.